I haven’t posted in a long time, and it’s usually a sign when an author goes quiet for a while after completion of a book. I’ve been busy dealing with the slew of rejections many hear authors groan about. I can break my silence now and say that as of yesterday afternoon, THE CHOICE has a home with Double Dragon Publishing! I signed the contract and it’s in the mail, making its way to Canada as I write this.

The first step to publication as many know is to create a ‘perfected’ query. Writing a query is certainly an art. My query went through many stages of revisions, and I admit, I started querying too early. After many (many = MANY) rejections, I began to re-think my strategy and began to research publishers – a learning step for me as I submitted to some publishers that do not fit with my story. This isn’t a complete misstep for me since material was requested from me over a Twitter contest. I figured that if they wanted to see my story, why not?

I had very good success querying small to mid-size publishers. I even queried editors at major publishing houses to receive personalized messages back thanking me for reaching out. One publisher was not acquiring at the time and was focusing on television only, but liked the idea; another thought my writing was a little too dark for what the publisher’s needs were at the time, but she thought the idea was great. Contrary to what feedback many in the industry give, some editors still like to work with authors and want to see their work.

I had a couple requests for full manuscripts from various publishers. One publisher that requested my full manuscript switched gears, to focus solely on romance going forward. That stung for a bit, but if they didn’t want a great story, their loss! Plus, I had my sights on Double Dragon at that point and really wanted to submit to them. As soon as I was able, I submitted my fully edited work to Double Dragon, and just shy of six weeks later, received my acceptance.

At first I saw the header line in the e-mail and expected a ‘thanks but no thanks’. Instead, what I read made me nearly fall out of my chair.

‘Thank you for your submission, I would like to offer you a contract with Double Dragon Publishing…”

Wow! What a feeling, compared to trudging on through rejections. My story will be available in both electronic and paperback format in early 2018.

Self-publishing is quite a journey. As hard as I tried to make sure everything was in order when publishing my story to Amazon, I succumbed to stupid mistakes – one of which applied to the formatting of my story.

I really wanted my story to stand out and look pretty on whatever electronic reader was being used. I love how the drop cap format looks at the beginning of chapters and tried countless ways to apply it to my book in the Kindle format.

For those of you that may not know what the drop cap is, here is a paragraph from my story, “Beautiful People” (Yep, it’s my latest story that isn’t even out yet – so here’s a sneak peak – but you will have to squint!), with the drop cap format:

Drop Cap Example

So yes, I spent hours trying to figure out how to implement the drop cap. I could do it in Word, but it wouldn’t transfer to the Kindle format. I tried everything. First, using the drop cap function in Word – no luck, then I tried forcing the format by making the font bigger for the first letter – looked horrible, finally I went through every chapter of my book and pasted an image in of the first letter and wrapped the text around the image. OK, yes, tedious. But I wanted my book to look a certain way. The next step was to import the story and check to see if the format transferred. Guess what? It did!

At this point, you are probably wondering where my big mistake was? I’m getting to it. It’s a good one.

I scanned my story for 50 pages or so and it all looked great. Pleased, I patted myself on the back and took myself out for a coffee.

It was about a week or so later that I was notified by a reader that the very last chapter of the book had a bunch of random formatting. After the last sentence of the book, it had random chapter headings such as, Chapter 20 Chapter 30 Chapter 10 – these were all listed in random order. Evidently the import didn’t like some of the chapter and drop cap images and moved them to the end of the book. I’m sure it left some wondering what my intent was or if there was an issue with their download. So if you are one of those with my uniquely formatted book, yes, you have all the content. Please consider it a one of a kind. I do have a planned sequel to “Conduit: The Beginning”, so I like to think that the random chapter lingo at the end of the book can signify the chapters in the future books to the series!

So what have I learned from all of this?

1) Check every page with every fresh import for your story, even if it’s small change.
2) Use a tool such as MOBIPOCKET eBook Creator

To my second point, I dabbled with the MOBIPOCKET eBook Creator to fix the format of my book. It will import a Word file with special formatting and convert it to a .mobi file which is easy for the Kindle import and it appears that it will accept a lot of special formatting without much hassle. From this point on, I will always be using this tool. You can grab a free copy here:


MOBIPOCKET Creator

Now some may be wondering why I’m sharing my stupid mistake with everyone. It’s my hope that others can learn from my error. E-publishing is a new world for all and though it is easy to post a book out on Amazon, there are plenty of pitfalls that need to be avoided as well.

Good luck if you are in the process of getting a book out there and I hope I have helped in some way!

Shortly after posting “Conduit: The Beginning” to Amazon and blasting out the news that my novel was available for purchase, I received numerous comments that people would like to buy the book but do not own a Kindle.

Due to restrictions on publishing work to Amazon, I am unable to open my novel up to other platforms such as the Nook, iPad, or Sony Reader for ninety days.  After the ninety days is over, I will be pushing it out to the other readers in addition to the Kindle.  Unfortunately, for those that do not own a Kindle, they will have to either download a free application that allows the purchase of ebooks from Amazon or will have to wait until the exclusivity period is over and “The Conduit” is available for purchase on other readers.

Amazon offers free Kindle applications for many different platforms including:

  • iPhone
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Blackberry
  • iPad
  • Android
  • Windows 7 Phone

Simply click on the link that applies to you and follow the instructions on the page.  Once installed, enter the user information to access the Kindle store.

I hope this helps so that more people may enjoy my story.  It’s a good one!